The PGA Tour heads for Ohio this week and Jack Nicklaus’s event at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Matt Kuchar defends the title in the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.

Lowdown:
The PGA Tour heads for Ohio this week and Jack Nicklaus’s event at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Matt Kuchar defends the title in the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.

A strong field has assembled for this event as players look to complete preparations for the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in two weeks time. World Number 1 Adam Scott will tee it up, fresh off victory at Colonial last week; Rory McIlroy has also made the journey to Ohio after his win at Wentworth. Other Europeans in the field include defending U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and a resurgent Luke Donald.

The 220 acres on which Muirfield Village GC sits was acquired in 1966, though the course was not officially opened until 1974. Built in the outskirts of Jack Nicklaus’ hometown of Columbus, the course and the Memorial Tournament were the work and dream of the “Golden Bear.”

Muirfield Village has played host to the Memorial since 1976 and the course was also used for the 1987 Ryder Cup matches, the 1992 US Amateur and the 1998 Solheim Cup.

It’s one of the toughest courses visited by the PGA Tour outside of the Majors. Last season, the average score for the tournament was 73.256.

Past winners of this tournament include Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Fred Couples and Tiger Woods. The former World Number 1 took this title three years straight from 1999 to 2001 then in 2009 and again in 2012.

Last year, Matt Kuchar took the title here. The consistent American produced four solid rounds to finish two clear of Kevin Chappell.

The weather should hold this week although rain and thunderstorms leading into the event could have an impact, softening the fairways and greens.

Venue: Muirfield Village, Dublin, Ohio
Date: May 29 – Jun 1
Course stats: par 72, 7,265 yards
Purse: $6,200,000 Winner: $1,116,000
Defending Champion: Matt Kuchar (-12)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 29 – Sky Sports 4 from 7.30pm
Friday 30 – Sky Sports 4 from 7.30pm
Saturday 31 – Sky Sports 4 from 5.30pm
Sunday 1 – Sky Sports 4 from 5pm

Player Watch:
Dustin Johnson – Coming back into form after something of a slump around the Masters. He was fourth in this event in 2011.

Kevin Chappell – A top-10 finish last week signals he could be peaking at the right time for an event he came second in last year.

Hideki Matsuyama – Another man who posted a top-10 last week, and it could have been a good deal better but for a disappointing last round. He looks to have the game to compete at the very highest level and it wouldn’t be a great surprise to see him earn a breakthrough win in the near future… Maybe this week.

Key hole: 17th. A long, 478-yard par 4 that generally plays as one of the most challenging holes on this layout. Trees down the right side can hamper the approach from a tee shot that’s leaked in that direction. The green is small and well guarded and the ball must carry all the way to the surface across a rough-filled valley.